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Enjoy the highly nutritious benefits of pumpkin year round


Pumpkin

(NaturalNews) Pumpkin is so much more than just a Thanksgiving pie filling or Halloween decoration. Inside its vibrant orange color, its flesh, seeds, and oil are jam-packed with essential plant nutrients. This low-calorie superfood provides only 26 calories per 100 grams. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, and is an excellent source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.

Pumpkin can be added to a wide variety of dishes, from sweet pumpkin lattes to hearty winter stews. Furthermore, many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant-based whole foods like pumpkin improves overall health and well-being.

Here are seven good reasons why you should enjoy pumpkin all year round.

1. Weight loss aid

If you are on a weight loss mission, then pumpkins should be part of your diet. They are low in calories and carbohydrates which make them the ideal swap for calorie-dense sweet potatoes. Pumpkins are an excellent source of fiber to fill you up and prevent hunger pangs and snacking throughout the day.

2. Skin booster

Just like carrots, squashes and sweet potatoes, pumpkins contain high levels of beta-carotene (precursor of vitamin A) and other carotenoids, hence their vibrant orange color. They provide about 246 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin A.

Vitamin A is an important antioxidant that our body needs to maintain skin integrity. It keeps the skin firm, prevents skin damage and speeds up healing. Furthermore, vitamin A has been shown to prevent free radical damage to our cells, which is responsible for premature aging of the skin.

3. Loaded with antioxidants

As reported by the Daily Mail Online, pumpkin seed oil contains very high levels of natural antioxidants, mainly the gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E. This powerful antioxidant has been shown to reduce inflammation, and it may protect against some types of cancer. Scientists also found that this compound activates genes that may prevent the onslaught of Alzheimer's disease.

4. Improve your mood

If you are struggling with feelings of depression or anxiety, try to add more pumpkin to your diet or enjoy a heartwarming pumpkin-spiced latte. Pumpkins are packed with magnesium, an essential mineral involved in many brain reactions.

"Pumpkin seeds are one of our best sources of magnesium. This vital mineral is often called 'nature's tranquilizer,' as it's associated with helping us feel calm and relaxed," explained London-based nutritionist Cassandra Barns in speaking to the Daily Mail Online.

5. Protect your vision

In addition to being an excellent skin booster, pumpkin's high level of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A and retinol, can improve your vision. Retinol has been shown to play an essential role in preventing degenerative eye diseases. It slows down the decline of retinal function which can cause blindness.

6. Heart-friendly

High in fiber and antioxidants, pumpkins help you keep your heart in the best condition. According to some experts, the high fiber content and mono-unsaturated fatty acids in both the flesh and seeds may help balance cholesterol levels and reduce high blood pressure, thus preventing heart disease.

7. Boost immune system

Nothing is more important than keeping your immune system strong and healthy during the colder months. Pumpkin's high level of immune-boosting vitamin A and C makes it a great food to keep winter bugs at bay.

Sources for this article include:

DailyMail.co.uk

Nutrition-And-You.com

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